Avici, aka: Avīci, Avīcī, Āvīci; 8 Definition(s)

Introduction

Avici means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

Alternative spellings of this word include Avichi.

In Hinduism

Purāṇa

1) Avīci (अवीचि).—One of the 28 hells—a structure with no support to stand on. Here are punished false witnesses and wrong givers of gifts.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 26. 7 and 28.

2) Avīcī (अवीची).—The fifth hell under the earth; torture by machinery.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 101. 179, 182; 112. 11.

3) Āvīci (आवीचि).—A hell.*

  • * Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 6. 4.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
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The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Śāktism (Śākta philosophy)

Avīci (अवीचि) refers to one of the thirty hells (naraka) mentioned in the Devī-bhāgavata-purāṇa 8.21 (on the narrative of hells). The hells are destinations where dead beings brought by messengers of Yama (the God of the Pitṛs), and get punished by him according to their karmas and faults.

The Devī-bhāgavata-purāṇa or Śrīmad-devī-bhāgavatam (mentioning Avīci), is categorised as a Mahāpurāṇa, a type of Sanskrit literature containing cultural information on ancient India, religious/spiritual prescriptions and a range of topics concerning the various arts and sciences. The whole text is composed of 18,000 metrical verses, possibly originating from before the 6th century.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam
Śāktism book cover
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Śākta (शाक्त, shakta) or Śāktism (shaktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devī) is revered and worshipped. Śākta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

One of the eight great purgatories (mahaniraya) (J.v.266). It is ten thousand leagues in extent and forms part of a cakkavala (SnA.ii.443).

The Milindapanha (p.5), however, places it outside the sphere of the earth. Spence Hardy (Manual of Buddhism, p.26) mentions a tradition which says that Avici is seven hundred miles directly under the Bodhi Tree at Gaya. In later books, e.g. the Dhammapada Commentary, it is represented as being under the earth, for we are told that the earth opened wide to allow the flames of Avici to escape and to drag down sinners into its bowels (E.g., DhA.i.127, 147; iii.181). It seems to have been specially designed for those who had committed very grievous crimes, among whom are

Devadatta;

Cunda, the pork butcher;

Ananda, who raped his cousin the Theri Uppalavanna;

the ascetic Jambuka, who in a previous birth had insulted an arahant;

the murderer of the Pacceka Buddha Sunetta;

Sivali, who in a former birth had blockaded a city for seven years;

Suppabuddha, who insulted the Buddha;

Mallikka, because of her misbehaviour with a dog (she was only there seven days);

Cinca Manavika, because she falsely accused the Buddha;

and Kapila, brother of Sodhana, for reviling pious monks.

For details and references see under these names; see also Mil.357.

According to Buddhaghosa, Avici is often called Maha Niraya (AA.i.376). Descriptions of it are to be found in several places in the four Nikayas (E.g., M.iii.183; A.i.141-2). It is a quadrangular space, one hundred leagues each way, four doored, walled all round and above with steel and with floor of incandescent molten steel.

The Dhammapadatthakatha gives a description of the tortures that await the entrant to Avici. When, for instance, Devadatta entered there, his body became one hundred leagues in height, his head, as far as the outer ear, entered into an iron skull; his feet sank up to the ankles in iron, an iron stake as thick as the trunk of a palmyra tree came from the west wall, pierced the small of his back and, penetrating his breast, entered the east wall. Other similar stakes came from the south and from the north and transfixed him (DhA.i.148).

The fire of Avici is so powerful that it destroys the eyes of anyone looking at it from a distance of one hundred leagues (A.i.142). It would destroy in a moment a rock as large as a gabled house, yet beings born there remain undestroyed, as though reposing in their mothers womb (DhA.i.127; Mil.67).

Beings born in Avici suffer for periods of varying lengths; thus, Mallika, Pasenadis queen, remained only for seven days (DhA.iii.121), while Devadatta is destined to pass there 100,000 kappas (DhA.i.148).

The Sutta Nipata (p.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

M (That which is totally devoid of pleasure). avici is the name given to the most painful hell.

(Source): Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

is the name of one of the most frightful hells (niraya).

(Source): Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines
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Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

Pali

avīci : (adj.) waveless. (f.) one of the great hells.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Avīci, (B. Sk. avīci a + vīci (?) no intermission, or no pleasure (?), unknown, but very likely popular etym. ) 1. avīciniraya, one of the (great) hells (see niraya), described in vivid colours at many passages of the Pāli canon, e.g. at Vin. II, 203 = It. 86; Nd1 18, 347, 405 = Nd2 304 IIID; Ps. I, 83; Dhs. 1281; J. I, 71, 96; III, 182; IV, 159; DhA. I, 148; PvA. 52; SnA 290; Sdhp. 37, 194; Pgdp 5 sq. ; etc etc.—2. disintegration, decay Vism. 449 (a. jarā nāma). (Page 85)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Avīci (अवीचि) refers to the “never-ceasing hell” and represents one of the “eight hot hells” (uṣṇa-naraka) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 121). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., avīci). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Relevant definitions

Search found 63 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Maha Avici
See Avici.
Niraya
niraya (निरय).—m The name of a hell.
Naraka
1) Naraka (नरक, “hell”) refers to one of the “six destinations” (gata) as defined in the Dharma...
Bhava
Bhava (भव) is the name of a ancient authority on the science of Sanskrit metrics (chandaśāstra)...
Kapila
Kapila (कपिल) is an example of a name based on color heritge mentioned in the Gupta inscription...
Kama
kama (कम).—a Less, wanting, short of.--- OR --- kāma (काम).—n An action. A work. Use. Need of. ...
Pundarika
Puṇḍarīka (पुण्डरीक) is a lake lying on top of mount Śikharī (Śikharin), situated in Jambūdvīpa...
Vici
Vīci (वीचि).—The name of a hell.** Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 2. 150.
Atata
Aṭaṭa (अटट) refers to the “squealing hell” and represents one of the “eight cold hells” (śīta-n...
Yava
Yava (यव, “barley”) refers to one of the seventeen varieties of dhānya (“grain”) according to Ś...
Bheda
bhēḍa (भेड).—a (In Poetry.) Timid, fearful.--- OR --- bhēda (भेद).—m Dividing; difference; vari...
Jambuka
jambūka (जंबूक).—m A jackal.
Phuta
phūṭa (फूट).—f A crack. f An acute rheumatic affection.
Ayo
ayō (अयो).—R & ayōnavamī R See avidhavā & avidhavānavamī.
Koti
kōṭi (कोटि).—f Ten millions, a crore. (In dis- putation) A reply or rejoinder, a reasoning in s...

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